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Assembling Your Landing Page Optimization Dream Team, Part 1

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Your testing program can look like it's moving forward but still fail. If it does, it will likely happen as a result of a "death by a thousand cuts." Your original test ideas will be reviewed, tweaked, overruled, and co-opted by many others along the way.

It's like the children's game of "telephone" in which all of the participants line up and an original message is repeated and whispered to the next person in line. By the time it reaches the other end, you end up with something completely unrecognizable.

But you have no choice because you need the cooperation of many people. You have to bear the ultimate responsibility for wrangling and herding them roughly in the desired direction. So your skills as a diplomat and persuader are very important.

To help guide you through this process, I've put together a list of the "usual suspects." These are roles that are commonly needed for a successful landing page optimization program.

Depending on the scope of your program, not all of them may be applicable to you or your organization. If your company or department is small, several of these roles may be assigned to a single person. Many of them may be assigned to you now. If that's the case, use extra caution to take yourself and your predispositions into account as much as possible.

The key roles are:

  • Product Manager
  • Webmaster
  • Graphic Designer
  • Copywriter
  • Marketing Manager
  • User Experience Designer
  • Programmer
  • System Administrator
  • Quality Assurance Tester

In the coming weeks, I'll address all the roles. But for today, let's kick off the discussion with the first key role.

Product Manager

Product managers are typically responsible for all aspects of developing and marketing a particular product or service. They may also have profit and loss (P&L) responsibility (i.e., they're accountable for the profit and loss performance of the product group as a whole). Product managers have operational day-to-day responsibility for the product team, although they may draw on staff members from other departments as needed.

Skills and Training

Product managers can come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including technical, management, and finance. Their main roles are managing and facilitating. They're usually effective at putting together cross-disciplinary teams of people. Product managers make sure that the product features are responding to competitive marketplace needs, and that the marketing is effective.

Specific Overlap

At a minimum, product managers have to approve any landing page project related to their product. Often, they will lead or manage the effort. They may be needed to secure the help of any project-based people outside of your normal team. Product managers also help push through any approvals required from other departments.

Common Issues

If your product manager is already behind your landing page optimization project, then you have a valuable ally. If that's not the case, you may have a hard time getting enough of your product manager's sustained attention to make it happen. Product managers typically wear too many hats and are overextended. Since their role is to herd others, they're also commonly interrupt-driven and easily distracted.

Product managers are also often in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mode. If the landing page in question already drives significant revenue or value, you may have a difficult time convincing the product manager of the need for landing page testing. He or she may be preoccupied with other problems, and may not understand the financial opportunity presented by improving the conversion rate. This may especially be the case if the landing page testing effort requires the product manager to take on significant extra work to coordinate the project.

You must usually go through the product manager to get budget approval for the project. Often, this individual isn't the final financial decision maker, and must in turn get approval from his or her boss. Depending on the scale of your company, you may have to wait until the next budget cycle to get your project authorized.

Next time, I'll examine two more key roles of your landing page optimization dream team: the Webmaster and the graphic designer.

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